Baby Rapist’s Sentence Increased

A man who raped a 12-week-old baby has had his six-year jail term increased to eight by the Court of Appeal. The five-year-sentence originally imposed on Alan Webster’s accomplice Tanya French will remain, judges said. Webster, 40, was sentenced to life in January but was eligible to apply for parole after six years. French, 19, was jailed for five years.

Attorney General Lord Goldsmith QC said sentences of the pair, from Hatfield, Herts, were “unduly lenient”. He described their offences were of the “gravest depravity”, which was the driving force behind the review of the sentences. He also said they should not have received discounts for pleading guilty.

A panel of five senior Appeal Court judges, headed by the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Phillips, ruled that Webster’s six-year minimum term was too short. He said: “His sentence was life imprisonment and such was his depravity that it was questionable whether the parole board would ever consider that he should be released.”

The court ruled that having regard to French’s youth and the fact she had been corrupted by Webster, her sentence fell within the range that was properly open to the sentencing judge “and should not be disturbed”.

Lord Goldsmith earlier said the crimes committed by Webster and French had “shocked and outraged public opinion”.

Webster and French raped and indecently assaulted the baby and took photographs of the abuse, their trial heard.